Zvi Mar/Apr 2006
We are approaching the great days of Passover, which begin April 12. This holiday brings unity to our nation, as we give thanks for all that God has done for His Chosen People Israel.
For those of us who worship the Lord according to the Bible, we especially thank Him for the truth of Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lᴏʀᴅ has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” We thank God that Yeshua Hamashiach became our final sacrifice for sin; and by believing in Him, we can receive forgiveness and the gift of eternal life.
Yes, He died for us all. But many do not know this great truth. And others run away from it. As it is written in Isaiah 1:2–5, “The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not consider” (v. 3).
Before Passover Israelis work hard to clean their houses so that you shall not find even the smallest crumb of bread anywhere because leaven is forbidden for eight days. And when they gather around the seder table for the Passover feast, they sing with great joy, “Once we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and now we are free.”
In our neighborhood in Jerusalem, we have a number of religious people. And when they see me they ask, “Will you read the Haggadah at your seder?” The Haggadah contains the seder service. It has prayers and retells the history of the Jewish people’s Exodus from Egypt.
“This is a very long book,” I answered recently. “And you believe that when you read it, the Lord will forgive your sins. But I tell you that now you are slaves to your souls.”
“How can you say such a thing?” one man asked. “We are doing everything right to prepare for this great feast of Passover. You cannot find even the smallest bread crumb in my home. This is not enough for you? Who do you think you are?”
So it began. “Who am I? I am from those who have believed in the Lord. He Himself is the greatest symbol of Passover.”
They looked at me oddly, not understanding. “What do you mean?” one asked.
“Do you believe what is written in the Bible?”
“Yes,” they all replied. “It is the foundation of our faith.”
“Good,” I said. “And about whom is it written in Isaiah 53:6? Who was this one who shed His blood for our sins? It says He was ‘led as a lamb to the slaughter’ [v. 7]. Who was He?”
They did not understand. “About whom do you speak?” one asked.
Now I had a great opportunity to show them the truth. You cannot come to people in Israel with a big hallelujah and expect them to see the truth immediately. They are proud and certain they are right. You must come slowly and patiently—and with iron nerves. I was ready for them to rise up against me when I came to this next point. And so it was.
When I began to explain Isaiah 53, which speaks so plainly about Jesus, the Lamb of God, they became suspicious. They are new immigrants, and the ultra-Orthodox warned them not to speak with people who show them Isaiah 53, telling them such people want to take them out of Judaism. So they called some of the ultra-Orthodox to come over.
Now the conversation became interesting. For me, it became much better because I could speak plainly, “straight from the bridge,” as we say here. I opened the Bible, pointing to it, and asked, “Do you truly believe that this is the foundation of our faith?”
The immigrants looked to the ultra-Orthodox to see what they would say, because they put their trust in them. Whatever the ultra-Orthodox say, they believe. So I asked the ultra-Orthodox men to read Isaiah 53:6. “Please tell me about whom this is written,” I said. Some had never read that chapter in their lives because it is forbidden. But it is written in Isaiah 43:8, “Bring out the blind people who have eyes.” So I had them read it.
When they were finished, one asked me, “Do you believe all that is written here?”
I replied, “What is more important? To read all those commentaries that your rabbis have written or to read this Book, written by the Holy Spirit of the Lord? You call yourselves religious. What is more important?”
All the new immigrants looked at them and seemed ashamed. They had lost their confidence in them, and the Lord opened a door for me to teach His Word and His truth.
God has even strengthened me to go into the ultra-Orthodox synagogues and speak His truth. And we can see good fruit coming from this ministry. It is not easy, but it is our obligation before the Lord. And I thank the Lord that He gives me the courage to go to these people and bring them the good news of His salvation through Yeshua Hamashiach, who died for our sins as our Passover Lamb, who lives today, and who will someday return.